Case Study: The European Glia Meeting

“The aim was to provide on-site childcare facilities and, with funding from the RSE award, for the first time in the history of European Glia Meetings, this was made possible.”


Professor Peter Brophy FRSE FMedSCi, Director of the Centre for Neuroregeneration at the University of Edinburgh and a Co-Chair of the Local Glia Meetings Organising Committee, applied for the RSE’s Support for Meetings Grant in order to receive sponsorship which would cover the costs of childcare facilities at the European Glia Meeting.

What is The European Glia Meeting?

Network Glia was founded in 2011 with the goal of enhancing public awareness of a defined cell type of the brain, the so-called cells; and of diseases related to glial cells. The network also aims at strengthening glial cell research and, especially, supporting young scientists active in the field.

The European Meeting on Glial Cells in Health and Disease is the largest international meeting of glial researchers, involving scientists from all over the world. It is held in a European city every two years on odd years. Taking place this July in Edinburgh at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre, it compromised of 30 symposia, seven plenary lectures and more than 700 posters, and hosted around 1200 delegates.

What was the reason for applying for the award?

RSE Fellow, Professor Peter Brophy, Centre for Neuroregeneration, University of Edinburgh, is Co-Chair of the local organising committee of the meeting. Along with Professor Charles ffrench-Constant, Centre for Regenerative Medicine, University of Edinburgh, he realised that responsibilities were one of the main obstacles preventing young researchers from attending the conference and from networking after sessions, especially as the conference ran over the weekend when nurseries are closed. They started seeking sponsorship to provide affordable childcare for parents but discovered that Network Glia was not able to support these costs. Professor Brophy then realised that the RSE would be an ideal sponsor, given that the organisation is committed to encouraging women in science and to promoting a healthy work-life balance.

How was the award used?

The aim was to provide on-site childcare facilities and, with funding from the RSE award, for the first time in the history of European Glia Meetings, this was made possible. Contract was made with Super Mums Ltd, a company offering high-quality childcare. Due to the number of children registered in advance (19 in total), five workers from the company were on-site on all conference days, taking care of children aged between six months to eight years. The high number of workers allowed the best care for every single entrusted to the childcare service.

What were the outcomes and successes resulting from this award?

It enabled young researchers to join the scientific programme, and bring their children with them. Feedback from the young researchers was highly scientific lectures, symposia and poster presentations. Due to this additional service, the meeting attracted more delegates and more scientific contributions. As a result, a decision was made to offer this service again at the next European Glia Meeting in Portugal in 2019. Organisers are convinced that this will be vital in assisting even more young researchers to be able to attend the scientific programme and participate in useful networking.

Any other comments?

On behalf of Network Glia and the local chairs of the meeting, the organisers thank the RSE for its generous support of the childcare service.


Professor Peter Brophy FRSE FMedSci


Laura Feltri, Buffalo, USA. Plenary Session.


Mike W Salter, Toronto, Canada. Plenary Session


Poster Session.

Support for Meetings Grant

Support for Meetings Grant is designed for Fellows of the Society and Members / Emeritus Members of the Young Academy of Scotland to sponsor small scale (no more than 150 participants) specialist meetings or symposia in Scotland.  Closing dates for applications are the last working days in February, May, August and November.


Grants for Fellows